Authorities are urging deer hunters to use caution in the woods after a deadly incident on the first day of gun season.
An apparent accidental shooting ended in the death of a 33-year-old York man Saturday night in the Sumter National Forest.
Touna Xiong was hunting in the woods when another hunter shot him in the back, authorities said. The hunter apparently mistook Xiong for a deer, said Chester County Coroner Terry Tinker.
The shooting occurred around 7 p.m., just as nightfall descended over the woods off Worthys Ferry Road, about an hour southwest of Rock Hill.
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In South Carolina, thousands of hunters take to the woods every year on the opening weekend of gun season. Saturday's incident underscores the need for safe habits, Tinker said.
"You need to make sure of what you're shooting before you shoot," he said. "You ought to be able to see it clearly. Just because you see movement doesn't mean it has to be a deer."
The hunter and his group dialed 911 and stayed at the scene until paramedics arrived, but Xiong died from a single gunshot wound, Tinker said.
All involved had been hunting legally on state-owned land used for game management. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources is investigating. A representative from that agency couldn't be reached Sunday.
Xiong, of Kellocreek Lane in York, was wearing camouflage gear, but he did not have on any bright orange reflective clothing that could have made him easier to recognize, Tinker said.
A relative who answered the phone Sunday at Xiong's home said the family did not want to speak about the incident.
Hunters in much of the Upstate were allowed to bowhunt for deer starting Sept. 15. Saturday marked the first day for guns.